Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brooks Beast

David Brooks is one of my favorite columnists, along with Tom Friedman. Many thanks to reader Leanne who pointed me back to David -- I have had a busy two weeks and have not had time to read his columns lately. I did so tonight, and was struck by the wisdom in each of them.

In his column today, he calls out and explains in clear detail the necessity of a bailout plan, and more importantly, the necessity for true leadership in Washington. He correctly analyzes that most house Republicans somehow think they will benefit if this thing doesn't pass, and says that they "have once again confused talk radio with reality." Amen.

One of his earlier pieces takes a close look at McCain pre-campaign. While the odds against Sen. McCain seem to increase everyday (especially in the wake of his failed gamble on the bailout package), this column reminds me why I liked him in the first place.

The other earlier piece is a forward looking piece that describes the financial markets and challenges America faces down the road as we work to get out from under the piles of debt we have sold as we have run up deficits. Since I am in the middle of Homestead right now, much of it rings true. Lets hope we aren't too strapped financially in the wake of bailouts for whoever wins this next election to step up to the plate.

The fact is, it is 2008 and America has yet to really get ready for this century. Our economy, our educational system, our infrastructure (transportation especially), and our energy situation desperately need a tune up, and perhaps an overhaul.

I have often said that perhaps hard times will force America to make these necessary changes -- however, as hard times loom this doesn't seem very appealing. Do we still have the strength, the wisdom, the steel in our spine to make hard choices and compete? To be the best? Because this century we are truly competing -- with the whole world.

Or will we choose to be soft, to depend on a benevolent government and to be content with mediocrity in our institutions, our governments, our businesses, our childrens' education?

I don't think most Americans are content to settle. I know most people in Oconee County aren't content to settle, and will work hard in their own way to support their community and their nation. But I do believe most Americans want a leader who will challenge them to do more than spend money to support the economy, who doesn't shy away from asking them to sacrifice, who will inspire them to greater heights, and inspire pride in our nation once again.

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